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    Cia
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Ancalagon - 97. Chapter 97

“You do seem to get in even more trouble now than you did when we were in training.” Ases sank into one of the chairs. He curled up, sitting sideways. “It’s weird none of these chairs have arm rests.”

“Not really. What are they going to do, put two of them on each side? It’d be like a restraint device.” I could always rest my upper pair of arms along the cushioned back of the couch if I wanted, but the chairs were open. “Besides, Bouncer likes it so he can sit close.”

Well, when he wasn’t tucked into a corner tearing into the hunk of meat. I didn’t want that thing in my lap, and his favorite position was to lean against my side and put his head in my lap so I could rub behind his ears and on the back of his head where he had trouble scratching.

Zeekah had stayed outside the room, and I looked around. There were no obvious signs of monitoring. “Can you tell if we’re being recorded?” I asked.

Ases cocked his head. “My mech can. He’s not pinging any signals right now, or I’d have received an alert on my comm.”

“Good.” This was maybe the first time I could be completely certain we were alone and would go undisturbed and unheard. I couldn’t be sure on the ship that we’d go unheard, but the walls were thicker here, especially in a safe room. “Listen, I don’t know that I agree with Garjah’s assessment of the Kardoval’s innocence. We’re at risk here, and I believe they are the cause. I won’t allow anyone to hurt him. I know he’s the head of security for the whole planet, but someone has to look out for him.” This is where things get dicey. “I haven’t told him that I know your mech has custom modifications beyond commercial models.” It was a small betrayal, but I knew Ases was on our side.

He wanted to ensure this treaty and make a name for himself before the Council. I wanted to ensure my bonded stayed safe, and the home he loved above all else stayed safe too.

Ases was too cunning, too stepped in political maneuvering, to act surprised or give anything away. “And?” he probed.

“I need your help.”

 

We were finally released, and Garjah came to take us home. Not a moment too soon because Bouncer was starting to prowl restlessly, and he wasn’t able to use the tiny facilities available tucked behind a hidden wall. What was with these people and hidden catches?

Their very nature led them to favor secrets. It was frustrating as an outsider, but I also saw it differently than everyone else. As Garjah’s bonded, I had standing in society that gave me influence to counter my alien origins.

“You’re quiet,” Garjah said as he piloted our transport.

“What did you learn?” I asked.

He glanced at me then away.

“Really? You’re not going to tell me?”

Garjah took a deep breath. “I would like to get you home,” he said.

I held up a hand when Ases opened his big trap because I could see his comm blinking, and it all came together for me. We would have to come up with a signal. We were being monitored somehow. Good thing Garjah had a security suite at home.

“Bouncer does need to stretch his legs.” The security suite was hidden under the inner courtyard. He really was a paranoid male.

“I bet he does. He was a good boy today, wasn’t he?” Garjah held out one hand to Bouncer, rubbing his ears. “Such a smart protector.”

The cerops was preening. He stretched out his neck, looking smug.

I sank back in my chair. I was losing it. I was looking so hard for hidden motives and craziness I was seeing it everywhere. Sighing, I closed my eyes. Maybe I’d take a short nap. They could wake me up when we got home.

 

“Hey, wake up, snore monster.”

I came up battling, fighting off the hand pinching my nostrils shut.

Ases grinned. “That’s what we used to have to do when he’d fall asleep when we watched vids.”

“Stars, Ases,” I grumbled. “I could have hurt you.” I was stronger now than I used to be.

“Not likely. I still have faster reflexes than you.”

“We home?” I looked around blearily. Wow, not only were we home, somehow Garjah had gotten me down into his security suite without waking me. The screens covering every inch of the property’s land and all the entrances were cycling between views.

“Hey, those aren’t in my room, are they?” Ases asked. He narrowed his eyes. “If they are, we need to talk.”

“No, they’re not in the house. If someone has made it inside, I’ve already failed.” Garjah folded his arms, and he once again stood in that wide-legged stance he loved to adopt.

“Okay, all right, enough posing.” I poked him in the stomach. “Spill. What did you learn?” I flopped into one of the chairs in front of the intel desk full of computer screens.

“This wasn’t a rebel faction trying to take out the Kardoval, or anti-alien activists protesting your arrival either.” Garjah leaned against the table in the middle of what only could be his war room; he had so many plans and charts. An entire shelf was full of comm pad cubes, each one storing enough to clone an entire device. An. Entire. Shelf.

“Then who was it?”

“I don’t know. Before I could fully interrogate the male, he went into shock. I think it was self-induced. I’ve asked Timok to come take a look.”

“It would be handy to have him around.” Timok, for all his annoying characteristics, was also charismatic. “If anyone can get answers, he can.”

“Not from someone who is comatose.”

“Shit, really?”

Garjah scowled. “I think he’s retreated into his memories to avoid the consequences his compatriots faced.”

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Whichever of the Kardoval is responsible is hopefully not in charge of education or defense, cause they kinda suck!  I could have planned a better assault, and that's a pretty low bar!  It's a shame that Bouncer didn't get to eat the guy, since he committed coma-cide anyway.

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